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Inside Strangeways - Documentary gives the public an insight in to the notorious Manchester prison

20/05/2011

The 3 part ITV documentary Strangeways, gives an exclusive insight into life inside Britain’s largest-high security prison, which houses 1,200 inmates, including murderers, rapists, drug dealers and terrorists.

The Governor of the prison Richard Vince gave permission to film inside the Grade II-listed Victorian jail for nine months and the series features harrowing scenes of violence, self-harm and serious mental health issues.

CCTV clips of violent incidents from this year show how dangerous the prison is. Governor Vince says “There have been 14 serious assaults at HMP Manchester in the past year and that covers prisoner-on-prisoner and prisoner-on-staff.

“But there are a lot more attacks, the majority of which are stopped before they start, and that’s credit to the staff.”

Drugs are a huge issue, too, and 60-70% of new arrivals have some kind of problem. The documentary shows one prisoner as he’s taken to hospital in an ambulance after a drugs overdose.

Governor Vince says drugs are still being smuggled in despite major security crackdowns. “We have 25,000 people coming through every year,” he explains. “We have a machine to detect mobile phones or other devices concealed on a person. But drugs are harder to find.”
Prisoners arrive daily at Strangeways under armed guard in bomb-proof vans. And some cons are so dangerous they have to be kept inside a prison within a prison.

Governor Vince says the documentary has made him look at his staff in a different light. He explains: “Watching the film was almost voyeuristic, seeing the staff doing their day-to-day work. I knew they were good but this is quality. I’m very proud of the staff.”

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PLUS watch this space for the Brand New Criminalistics Diploma coming soon!

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